1904 Indian Head Penny Value (rare errors and no mint marks) (2023)

1904 was an interesting year for American coins. It was the first time outside artists were invited to redesign coins because President Theodore Roosevelt wanted our hard currency to have more artistic value. This decision initiated the death throes of the Indian Head Penny as well as the Barber Coinage. Let's take a look at the value of the 1904 Indian Head penny.

1904 Indian Head Penny Value Chart

like brandGood G4Gut


extremely fine


About uncirculated

50 AU

MS 60 Sin Circularnew condition


RP/PF 65-Test
1904 Indian head penny value$2,285,13 $$11$23$42$63$160

History of the 1904 Indian Head Penny

In the early days of our nation's history, we used British coins from our British colonists and Spanish coins from our Mexican neighbors. But from 1792 we started minting our own coins, mostly in gold and silver. We had copper pennies, twopence and threepence for postage, but these were for domestic use only and were not legal tender until 1864.

At that time mint cutters were responsible for coin design. Since they were already working for the government, they received no additional credit for their ideas. Yes, they were allowed to sign their work, but they usually put a barely visible initial on the portrait's crop line or hid it somewhere in the artwork. The Indian Head Penny was a prime example of this.

The designer, James B. Longacre, did not put his initials on the coin until it became legal tender in 1864. And he hid them in the locks of Lady Liberty's hair so you wouldn't see them unless you know where to look. ! Conversely, outside artists would place their initials somewhere visible on the background, and they still do! Makes sense: you need to boost business...

But this seemingly innocent gesture sparked clashes between the mint and outside artists, and it's an issue that has spanned multiple coins, including the Lincoln cent, the Mercury dime, and even the 50 States Quarters from 1999 to 2008. However, in 1864 the Presence of coins with and without L drove up prices dramatically due to the conditional rarity of the 1864-L penny.

The last era of the Indian head penny

Still, these were problems yet to plague the 1904 Indian Head penny. Elsewhere, the mint's chief engraver, Charles Barber, battled Roosevelt favorites: Augustus Saint-Gaudens, James Earle Fraser, and Victor David Brenner. These three artists worked in the same studio, with Monsieur Saint-Gaudens as director and the other two as assistants.

Saint-Gaudens was a personal friend of Theodore Roosevelt, and the President asked the Mint to hire him. His job was to embellish American coins, beginning with the $2.50, $5, $10, $20, and 1c coins. He died before completing his assignment, and the aforementioned assistants took over. They later produced Buffalo Nickel and Lincoln Cent respectively.

Meanwhile, the Indian Head penny was on the rise and would survive until 1909 before the Lincoln penny replaced it. The coin featured a younger version of Lady Liberty adorned with pearls and the feathered tiara of a Native American. It was minted between 1859 and 1909, and over those five decades mint masters mastered and perfected their minting process.

This may be why the 1904 Indian Head Penny lists only one error in the Cherry Picker's Guide, the FS 301, but more on that later. However, the lack of minting errors could also be due to a lack of interest in the coin. It circulated for 50 years, so numismatists took it for granted and did not consider it collectible. Today, however, investors are getting curious!

Characteristics of the 1904 Indian Head Penny

As you read about coins, you might come across some unfamiliar jargon, so let's start by demystifying it. Coins consist of blanks, so-called planchets, which are punched out of metal sheets. The discs are stamped using a stamping machine and each sheet has a specific metal composition based on its intended size and denomination.

(Video) 1904 Indian Head Penny Worth Money - How Much Is It Worth and Why? (Variety Guide)

The face or heads of a coin are called the obverse and the reverse or tails are called the reverse. The thin sides are called edges. The words on a coin are called mottos or captions, while the images are known as devices and the background or background is called the field. The edges of a coin can be smooth or plain, but they can also have tabs and some writing.

The obverse of the 1904 Indian Head Penny

1904 Indian Head Penny Value (rare errors and no mint marks) (1)


The obverse (head end) of the 1904 Indian Head Penny depicts a young Lady Liberty. She has a pearl necklace around her neck and wears a Native American male headdress. The words "United States" are in front of her face, while "Of America" ​​is written behind her head. The date is on the bottom of the coin. The L in her hair denotes designer James B. Longacre.

The reverse of the 1904 Indian Head penny

1904 Indian Head Penny Value (rare errors and no mint marks) (2)

On the reverse (cross face) of the 1904 Indian Head Penny, the denomination One Cent is written right in the middle of the coin. These words are surrounded by a wreath of oak branches tied with a ribbon. The ribbon has three arrows at the bottom of the coin. A shield sits atop the coin between the prongs of the oak wreath. It has teeth on its leading and trailing edges.

Other features of the 1904 Indian Head Penny

The 1904 Indian Head penny is a bronze coin sometimes referred to as the French bronze. It is 95% copper and the remaining 5% is a mixture of tin and zinc, although sometimes it is pure tin or pure zinc. The coin weighs 3.11 g and has a diameter of 19.05 mm, making it a small cent. For reference, earlier pennies were larger, often measuring 28mm to 29mm in diameter.

1904 Indian Head Penny Value Guide

Mint marks can sometimes add value to a coin's price. But in 1904 the coins could only be minted in Philadelphia, so they had no minting marks. For this reason, they may be listed as coins (P). However, since they were copper coins, they were classified by color as RD for red as the best quality, followed by RB for reddish brown and finally BN for brown.

(Video) 1904 Indian Head Penny Coin Values!

1904 Indian head penny value

In 1904, the Philadelphia Mint produced 61,326,198 Indian head cents, including nearly 2,000 proof cents. In March 2021, a Brown Indian Head Penny sold for $810. It wasn't in mint condition and was only classed as genuine, but it still came close to a thousand dollars! Typically, an MS 65 BN costs $165, while an MS 66 RB cost $760 in December 2021.

But up a notch, the auction record for a 1904 MS 67 RD Indian Head penny in August 2019 was $33,600. However, that price has dropped significantly. In January 2021, an MS 67 RD sold for a fraction of that price for $11,400. To date, PCGS has graded 13 coins as MS 67 RD but only one coin as MS 67+ RD. So a discovery of MS 68 would be quite expensive!

1904 Indian Head Proof Penny Value

1904 Indian Head Penny Value (rare errors and no mint marks) (4)


Proof coins are high quality coins that are uniquely minted to give them greater clarity and sharper detail. Originally they were made for testing dies prior to the mass production of commercial mint coins, also known as regular mints or circulation mints. Once the proof coin confirmed that the stamp was accurate and correct, a copy was sent to the archives for the records.

Then more proof coins could be made and sold at top prices to collectors to make a little extra money for the coin. Proof coins come in three varieties: matte, mirrored, and reverse proofs. Matte tests have a non-reflective grainy surface. Mirror tests have a reflective field and a ground device. And the reverse tests have a ground field and a mirror-like device.

(Video) WHY these Indian Head Pennies are WORTH MONEY!! 1904 One Cent Coins

The mirror effect is achieved by tumbling the slabs between stainless steel balls for added shine and then rinsing. The matrix is ​​also polished with horsehair brushes. For the glaze, you can acid etch the stumps or etch them with computer controlled lasers. But some of the acid etch wears off after each hit. The first brightest coins are Deep Cameo or Ultra Cameo.

Matte vs. mirror-like tests

Today, proof has a mirror-like surface, and that was the case before 1900. But thanks in part to Theodore Roosevelt's coin beautification project, certain coin designs had more curves. This made them more difficult to polish sufficiently, so from about 1909 to 1917 the Mint began producing matte prints using a technique developed at the Paris Mint.

These matte proofs were unpopular at the time but are sought after by collectors today. Rather than using the standard reflective plates and dies, the matte proofs were made using high quality dies and then sandblasted to achieve that matte finish. These coins were then preserved in tissue paper bound with sulphur. The paper prevented tarnishing but caused toning!

The Philadelphia Mint made 1,817 Indian Head Proof cents in 1904. In January 2019, a PR 65 BN set the record at $1,920. A few years earlier, a PR 67 RB CAC cost $6,463 in October 2014. Going back another five years, a PR 67 RD cost $29,900 in April 2009. But a PR 66 CAM had dropped to $7,800 in August 2019, with the current price estimate at $9,000.

1904 Indianerkopf Penny Bugs

The coins begin life as 8-inch prototypes made out of plaster, rubber and epoxy. These go into a reducing machine to make a steel master die, which is then pounded onto a steel jig to make the master dies. These matrices form working centers that produce working matrices. And working dies hit plates to form coins. All of these phases involve at least two hits in an outdated coin press.

If the target moves between hits, you can get double or triple bugs that can increase the value of the coin. Other minting errors include denomination errors, mixed metal combinations, impurities ground into the coins, clogged feeder and hopper die caps, or coins from other countries. Let's take a look at some mint bugs you can monetize.

1904 Indian Head Penny RPD FS-301 Fehler

1904 Indian Head Penny Value (rare errors and no mint marks) (5)


(Video) 1888-1904 Indian Head Pennies

The 1904 Indian Head Penny doesn't have too many verified errors, but the RPD is fairly easy to spot with a jeweler's loupe or coin microscope. First of all, FS stands for First Strike and refers to errors discovered, confirmed and listed within the first 30 days of the coin's existence. They would then have to be tested and registered within a month of launch.

RPD stands for Re-punched Date, and the FS-301 is a double date bug. It happened in the dice phase as the dice moved between dice hits and you can see the doubling inside the 9 and at the top edges of the 0 and 4. In May 2018 this bug was sold for $501 at MS 64 BN, while it was a MS 64 RB in March 2022 cost $550. Only one red penny has been valued so far.

1904 Indian Head Penny hit 10% from center

Sometimes the position of the bowl will change between hits of the dice if it's not set correctly. If this happens before the first hit, an offset error can occur, leaving part of the planchette unmarked. And this coin bug is obvious enough that you can spot it without a coin microscope. On MS 63, this penny with 10% off-center Indian head sold for over $250.

1904 Indian Head Penny FAQ

How much is my 1904 Indian Head penny worth?

In the Mid-Mints, a 1904 Indian Head Penny costs about $1,000, but you can get upwards of $10,000 for an MS 67+ RD since PCGS has only graded one sample so far. MS 66 and MS 66+ are readily available and start at around $2,000. About 100 are known.

What year is the rarest Indian headed penny from?


They have only minted 852,500 this year and only 3 of those are currently for sale. That being said, some people believe 1909-S is the rarest because it has the lowest mintage: only 309,000. But when you combine that with the 1909(P), about 14.6 million Indian Head pennies were made that year, which still gives lower amounts in 1877. In addition, older coins are increasingly rare.


Rob Paulsen Related Posts:

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  • 1960 Penny Value Guides (rare errors, "D" and no mintmark)
  • 1919 Wheat Cent Value Guides (rare errors, "D", "S" and no mintmark)
  • 1957 Wheat Cent Value Guides (rare errors, "D" and no mintmark)
  • 1903 Indian Head Penny Value (Rare Bugs, Red, Brown and Cameo Color)


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